I would be remiss if I didn’t take a few moments to express my sorrow and condolences on the horrific events at Northern Illinois University on Thursday. As the mother of a young child, whenever I hear of these tragedies, I cannot help but pray and think about her future. There was a time when sending your child off to college was strictly about preparing them for adulthood. The worse challenges a college student faced was balancing schoolwork and a social life (and possibly a job). You assumed that your child would be relatively safe (or at least not become the victim of a gunman). In todays world, not only do those guarantees not exist, they are a microcosm of the escalating levels of crime in society at large that we are becoming numb to. I don’t say any of this to scare you. I say it to impress upon you that despite that reality, we cannot be victims to such violence. We cannot live in fear.
So what can we do? What can one individual possibly do to make a difference and change the trajectory that has such events occur? Well, one small way is to think six degrees of separation. What kinds of conversations can you have in your sphere of influence that positively impacts those around you and has them then go forward more enlightened and empowered as a direct result of who you were for them and with them? Now – think ripple affect. If enough of us have those types of conversations everyday, collectively we can make a difference.
Could you or I have changed the events of February 14th at NIU? Maybe, maybe not. But if you always operate at your best self and are on some level committed to supporting others to do the same, then I am absolutely confident that at the very least we minimize the space for tragedies such as these to occur.
YES, you can!